Does a technical start-up require an MVP?

Building a start-up can be just as difficult as outlining a business plan: from conducting market research to defining your target audience, setting financial projections, and outlining a marketing strategy. Simply put, it is no walk in the park. And, when that plan involves building a technical product as well, as it does in the case of start-ups, this can be an added nuisance for stakeholders. 

However, being able to showcase a functional framework of the product to the market before a product launch is only a sensible course of action, considering the losses and costs that founders and stakeholders might have to face if the product proves to be non-functional. 

But, how can you be sure that your product is ready to hit the market and become a competitive solution, as opposed to what is already out there?

An alternative to the MVP is on the horizon: SLC

For the last two decades, the buzzword of the tech world, and, especially within the nearshore software development outsourcing field, has been MVP (minimum viable product). When developing an application, MVP was the go-to approach: creating a functional prototype for the end product, with minimum work and investment, and then putting it out into the world, so that the market can interact with it. This way, you could validate the product and garner feedback, in order to make more advanced iterations, tailored to the impressions of the public.

But, when talking about how to best make use of an MVP, founders have been using it the wrong way, putting the least amount of effort into the development of the product, and using the feedback to determine what features are most important to be adjusted as a pretext for doing less than what was necessary.

Nevertheless, the entire purpose of an MVP is to test the viability, introduce simple and intended features, as well as address a gap or a necessity on the market. This tool, which is a data-driven and scientific approach to developing applications, relies heavily on feedback and recommendations from the end user, which can affect the changes that are made to the core of the product. However, if the least amount of effort and features are being implemented into this first iteration, the entire scope of the endeavor can be compromised.

Nonetheless, in recent years, the MVP model has begun to lose some of its attractive characteristics. It is not enough to just do something basic, then place it on the market and see what clients think about it. It is better to deliver something that is more functional, on which you can have proper feedback, based on Agile nearshoring principles. Such an example is the Simple Lovable Complete (SLC) model, which experts are considering a more tailored, adjustable, and complex way of thinking about a technical product that you present to the market for the first time. 

This model proposes a paradigm shift with regards to developing applications: by focusing only on the core features, which have to be simple (but not minimum), and have to present a complete product, this will allow the developer a completely functional iteration to showcase to the end-user and ensure that the feedback is based on all the features that the product is able to achieve.  

“A well-thought-out MVP is the key to success. It is not enough to simply think about it, and help is required at these stages as well. As a way of thinking about the process, you need the idea and the necessary – business and technical – expertise to validate that idea. After this due-diligence process has been done, and after the scope of the product has been well defined, I reckon that you need about three months of work and at least three people, with a clearly defined budget, to get a functional enough product, which can be launched onto the market”, continues Mihai Cvasnievschi from Odeen.

MVP works as a principle, but it is not correctly implemented by everyone in the IT industry and within the nearshore custom software development field. That is why outsourcing firms on the technical side, such as Odeen, and on the consulting part, like Zeren, are needed to define not only the product but also in terms of providing a functional framework, around which the product can progress and reach its full potential on the market.

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